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Album Review: The Crookes – Dreams of Another Day EP

 
By on Monday, 4th October 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Taking their name from an artsy, bohemian suburb of Sheffield, where the members met while studying English Literature at University, the Crookes have, over the past couple of years, been frantically knocking out the kind of winsome, indie pop songs that bring to mind the Smiths or pre-‘Up the Bracket’ Libertines.

Serving as a cut-off point, bringing together a collection of the songs written while the band were still defining their sound and feeling their way, ‘Dreams of Another Day’ gives the band an opportunity to tie off any loose ends and air songs that might not otherwise have seen the light of day, before starting work afresh on their upcoming debut album. The sound of this 8-song EP may be a little ramshackle at times (on the quieter, home-recorded songs, singer George Waite sings into a wellington boot to create reverb) but that has it’s own charm and there is a warmth and intimacy to these moments that can be difficult to recapture in the studio.

While there is a mix of fasties and slowies here, it’s undoubtedly when they pick up the pace that the Crookes show why such luminaries as Steve Lamacq and Jarvis Cocker have been so effusive in their praise. Standout tracks ‘Backstreet Lovers’ (the first song that the band wrote together) and ‘The Collier’s Wife’ have enough charm and wit in them to keep you interested. It’s hard not to like the Crookes, with their exuberance and their romantic aspirations worn proudly on their sleeves. While this EP is a bit of a mixed bag, as an exercise in clearing the decks before recording their debut-proper, there’s reason enough here to suggest that if they play to their strengths the next chapter in their book could be quite the success story.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Il1NASOxBw[/youtube]

6/10

‘Dreams of Another Day’ is out now on Fierce Panda.

 

Album Review: Sky Larkin – Kaleide

 
By on Thursday, 23rd September 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Sky Larkin’s second album for Wichita Records sees them ploughing the same, American-influenced, lo-fi indie-pop furrow as their debut, last year’s ‘The Golden Spike’, something that will most likely come as a relief to those who heard that record. When the album was leaked a few weeks before the release date, the band decided to stream the album in its entirety on their Web site “so people could hear it as we wanted it to sound”. This ease with the possibilities of social media is hardly surprising, considering the fact that bass player Doug was recruited after a chat on MSN Messenger after the original bassist left to pursue other interests.

With acts like Sky Larkin, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Pulled Apart By Horses and the (sadly recently defunct) Grammatics, the City of Leeds seems to be making amends for unleashing the K**ser Ch**fs and the Pig**n Det**tives upon a world that was getting along just fine without them, thank you very much. Since signing to Wichita Records though, Sky Larkin have moved well beyond their local scene, recently supporting Broken Social Scene after spending much of the past year touring all over.

Katie Harkin, the main songwriter and lyricist, takes centre stage here and injects a depth and maturity into tracks like ‘Angelica Huston’ and album closer ‘Smarts (Shh Version)’ that shows clear signs of growth and development from their previous album. While they don’t really put a foot wrong over the course of the album, standout tracks like the aforementioned ‘Angelica Huston’ and album opener ‘Still Windmills’ (the video for which can be viewed below) are too few and far between. There’s enough here to suggest that Sky Larkin do have a great album in them (rhyming ‘precipice’ with ‘piece of piss’ alone wins them points in my book), sadly though, this isn’t it. As Katie Harkin sings in the first line of this album, “I know there’s potential”, the only question is whether that will be fully realised. Watch this space.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbGXAbYtoLY[/youtube]

7/10

‘Kaleide’ is out now on Wichita Recordings.

 

Single Review: Kurran and the Wolfnotes – Your Four Limbs

 
By on Tuesday, 21st September 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Kurran and the Wolfnotes continue their steady ascent to wider acclaim with their second single, ‘Your Four Limbs’, which sees lead singer Kurran pining after the object of his affections over the kind of insistent melody that’ll cling to your subconscious like a limpet. The band themselves cite Neil Young and Interpol as influences and it’s that combination of classic folk songwriting with contemporary sensibilities and concerns that makes them such an interesting prospect, add a bit of the Byrds and the Decemberists to the mix and you’re onto a winner.

Building on a gently picked, looping guitar line, ‘Your Four Limbs’ details the protagonist’s lustful longing after an unattainable inamorata (“And how I long for your four limbs / and long to sleep amongst their bends”) sung in Kurran Karmal’s resigned lament. The harmonies lift the song to another level when they edge their way in and ensure that you’ll be humming the song long after the final note.

Having previously toured with Lightspeed Champion, with whom they share a sense of pained urban romance, and worked with A-list producer Stephen Street, Kurran and the Wolfnotes seem to be laying a solid foundation for a long and fruitful career. The onus now falls on them to show that they have the quality/intelligence/sheer blind luck to stick it out when the Brit-folk bubble bursts. While you can never be sure about these things, the early signs are looking good.

‘Your Four Limbs’ is out now on Chess Club.

 

MP3 of the Day #235: Kurran and the Wolfnotes

 
By on Monday, 13th September 2010 at 10:00 am
 

No need to thank us, but we’ve been able to snaffle on a free download of a new Kurran and the Wolfnotes song for you lucky, lucky people. Showcasing all the things we love about them, the gorgeous harmonies, the spidery guitar lines and Kurran Karbal’s lovelorn lyrics, ’Here To Fill You In’ is the perfect appetite whetter before their upcoming single ‘Your Four Limbs’ is released on the 13th of September.

MP3: Kurran and the Wolfnotes – Here To Fill You In

[audio:https://www.theregoesthefear.com/uploads/2010/09/Here-To-Fill-You-In.mp3]
 

Bands to Watch #195: Kurran and the Wolfnotes

 
By on Friday, 10th September 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Following the timely demise of the nu-rave scene, attention has turned to the burgeoning Brit-folk scene that has brought forth Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, and Mumford and Sons among a host of others. While many of these bands will inevitably fall by the wayside (thankfully so in many cases), there will be one or two that will stand the test of time. One act hoping to stay relevant when lumberjack shirts and beards are little more than an embarrassing memory is Kurran and the Wolfnotes.

Merging melodies and harmonies that seem plucked from late 60’s California with lyrics of longing and heartbreak sung in New Yorker Kurran’s plaintive croon, the band seem set to win a lot of people over in the coming months. Having teamed up with legendary producer Stephen Street for their debut single ‘What a Bitch’, a song written about a relationship that Kurran had with an older woman while he was doing his A-Levels (‘What a bitch / to say you could have seen us in love / and I was robbed / of my youth before I knew what it was’), the band will release new single ‘Your Four Limbs’ before continuing work on their upcoming debut album. The smart money’s on it being something of a belter.

Check out the performance of ‘What a Bitch’ below and keep your eyes peeled for more Kurran and the Wolfnotes news soon.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGYsz_SHpI8[/youtube]

 

Album Review: The Twilight Sad – The Wrong Car EP

 
By on Tuesday, 7th September 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

The Twilight Sad don’t really do traditional narrative; instead, singer James Graham will drop lines like ‘we were there with our ears to ground, ‘cos he was right behind you’ in his Scottish brogue as the music works on your subconscious, evoking an almost palpable sense of dread and alienation. While you may never know exactly what events are being played out over the course of a Twilight Sad song, you can be sure that they’re not good.

This EP is split in two with ‘The Wrong Car’ and ‘Throw Yourself In The Water Again’, two songs originating from the sessions for the previous album, ‘Forget The Night Ahead’, followed by remixes of songs from that album by Mogwai and Errors. The originals, somewhat predictably, work better than the remixes. The title track in particular (the video for which can be seen below) benefits from repeated listens, building a mood of yearning and desperation over the course of its 7 minutes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK8G4TN-DH4[/youtube]

While the Mogwai remix of ‘The Room’ works with the strengths of the album version and does something different with it, actually sounding like they might have listened to it before deciding to remix it, the Errors remix of ‘Reflections on the Television’ is less successful. While the original was an exercise in claustrophobia and unresolved tensions, this version, for the most part, sounds as though it could easily be a remix of any other song by any other band.

While comparisons can and have been made with acts like My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai and Interpol, the Twilight Sad have, over the years, crafted their own gloomy little niche where the sun never shines and nothing good ever happens. While their world may not be a fun place to live, it’s certainly a fascinating place to visit.

7/10

‘The Wrong Car’ will be available on 12″ and download from 27th September 2010 on Fatcat Records.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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